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Flushing It Away

In 2011, I bought my husband a dual flush toilet for Father’s Day, and he bought me one for Mother’s Day.

I installed them one weekend when he wasn’t looking, for his birthday – best gift EVER.  We live in a 1,200 square foot home in Albany, NY. It is approximately 90 years old with one and a half bathrooms (hence the two toilets).  We reduced our overall potable water usage by 25%.

Now, there’s not really any money savings for us in this.  The cost of water in Albany is not much at all.  Only one of the toilets really needed to be replaced – the 3.5 gallon one that was upstairs.  The downstairs one was a 1.6 gallon fixture circa 1995 or so, and in great shape. So for our residence, we can’t really talk about the money so much.  This is about water usage. Potable water usage.

To quote Sim Van Der Ryn from Ecological Design: “We quite literally defecate in our water systems in the name of personal hygiene.”

This is an incredible waste.

We pay to transport water for municipal systems in some places even hundreds of miles of transportation (cost and energy), treat it to make it drinkable (cost and energy), use an excess of this treated water to flush wastes (cost), pump it or gravity feed it to treatment plants (energy), add chemicals and agitation and filtering and more chemicals (costs and energy and health), and then discharge it. We then pay to transport more water to start the process again.

None of this water needs to be drinkable.

It may seem like a small improvement, but what if everyone changed one toilet in their home from a 1.6 gallon flush toilet to an efficient 1.28 (combined) toilet or better?

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